With that all the confusion over the newspaper report on the decision of the Government to open special schools for the disabled children in Delhi that I referred to in my post dated 22 Dec 08, Here is the clarification by the Education Secretary Ms. Reena Ray herself on the plans of Education Department to tackle the education needs of Children with diverse disabilities.
In nutshell, for me, the model schools will be a new name to the special school only. However, with one such school in each district which Govt. may call a model school and I would say it a Special School still, the educational needs of the children will be better looked after. Many children specially with visual and hearing disability do learn better in exclusive set ups for the infrastructure is designed for them and more individualised attention is feasible. However, they face socialisation problems while their social & economic rehabilitation takes place and society is not better prepared for accepting them as a part of them.
Here is the clarification from Education Department on that goof up:
Subhash Chandra Vashishth
Govt schools to make room for special children
Aneesha MathurPosted: Jan 02, 2009 at 0131 hrs IST
New Delhi As an extension of the Right to Education and Integrated Education schemes of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, 24 government schools in Delhi will be turned into “model schools” implementing policies regarding the mainstreaming of children with physical and learning disabilities. These schools will serve as “laboratories” and help solve problems of inclusive education through the identification of problem areas, and through innovative solutions that will allow differently abled children to study in mainstream schools using to the CBSE syllabus.
Twelve schools belonging to the Directorate of Education (DoE), and a similar number of schools run by the MCD, will be part of this project, Education Secretary Rina Ray said. “It’s not possible to blindly follow the model of education followed in the US or Europe. This will allow us to see what is required in the specific environment of Delhi government schools,” she
said. One DoE and MCD school in each education district will be developed as a model school.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’s Delhi office has taken out an advertisement inviting 50 teachers for children with special needs, including visual and hearing-impaired children. The teachers will be posted in these model schools to enable the DoE to work out guidelines for expanding the integrated education model.
In 2008, there were 10,065 differently abled children enrolled in 750 Delhi government schools. Most have some physical disability or visual or auditory impairment. Some also have learning disabilities like dyslexia. “Most schools today have some number of children with disabilities but there are no fixed methods to teach them. There is too much diversity in Delhi and too little awareness or expertise as far as dealing with these children is concerned,” Kanta Kapoor, coordinator, District Southwest, Integrated Education for Disabled Children, said.
The model schools will have both the infrastructure and the trained teachers required to integrate the children with disabilities. “We are in talks with the Vinyas Foundation to create Building as Learning Aid (Bala) concepts for children with visual impairment or learning disability. We are also working out retrofitting and renovation plans to introduce ramps,
wider doors, specially designed toilets etc, for these children,” Ray said.
NGOs such as the Spastic Society of North India, Muskaan, Aastha etc, have also been involved in the project for spreading awareness and contribution of expertise to the scheme. The Vinyas Foundation, which introduced the Bala idea, has been roped in to create more such aids for these children. “We are thinking about getting tiles that indicate directions to blind students, painting scenes out of stories on walls so that children with hearing impairment can see the story that they are not able to hear,” the Education Secretary said.Under the proposed plan, all teachers and students in these schools will be sensitised to the needs of the differently abled students, through workshops and life skills education programmes. Two teachers from every school under the DoE have already been identified as in-charge of the special education programme.
Workshops were held last year to train them in methods to integrate children with disabilities. Sensitisation drives were also organised across schools in December to create awareness about the problems faced by differently abled children.
The “buddy support system”, where students act as the support group of a differently abled child, was introduced in Delhi schools in 2006.